Non-essential Travel Essentials

Pan Am stewardess editorial

vintage Pan Am stewardess editorial

Non-essential because technically all you need is a ticket, some money and mostly, time in order to travel anywhere, anytime. Essential because if you have any plans to be productive and cheery upon arriving, these little things make a world of a difference.

I’m not a seasoned backpacker, or even a frequent work traveler, but I have over 150,000 frequent flier miles, a TSA pre-check card, and have logged 23 red eye flights in the past few years living in NYC.. so I like to think I know something about flying. (overnight buses not so much… those are still brutal – any tips? throw them my way)

Pack light. Preferably all in a carry-on on rotating wheels. Easier wheedling around the airport & you’ll have access to everything in case you forgot something you’d need during the flight.

editorial photo from Marie Clairvoyant

editorial photo from Marie Clairvoyant

If you’re objective is sleeping: a glass of red wine (usually the crappy stuff makes me sleepier… I’m so classy huh), brush your teeth, glasses/contacts/whatever off.

1. Wear comfy clothes obviously, and err on the warmer side when dressing. Take your shoes off (bring an extra pair of socks) and try to get cozy.

2. Pack a scarf. A large comfy scarf can make such a difference (something delicious like this) – even if airplanes provide you blankets, you’ll feel so much more at home enveloped in your familiar scarf. Use it as a blanket, bunch it up as a pillow, or just wrap it around your entire face. This, actually this is totally me on red-eyes…. #noshame.

3. Bring an eye mask, and earplugs or noise canceling headphones. I received these Bose ones for Christmas a couple years ago & they work like a dream. I usually don’t even play any music with them, but if there’s a baby on board or something and the noise canceling isn’t doing the trick, I immediately pop on my go-to zone out & sleep playlist. (If you forget an eye mask, dark sunglasses usually do the trick)

4. Once you land, take those 5 minutes you would’ve spent waiting for your baggage to brush your teeth & freshen up. Do it asap in the airport bathroom with the noisy children and harried businessmen, instead of waiting until you get home – it makes such a difference.

If you don’t care about sleeping: well that’s way easier… just do you! (guuurlllll ::snaps::) Pack a scarf anyways, you’ll feel just a tad more at home. Bring your chargers onto the flight with you – most airplanes have outlets now in case you run out of juice.

phyllthis airplane view yosemite

Flying over Yosemite.. Try & spot Half Dome!

Regardless of when I’m flying, I always like to pick out my seat if possible. I’m a window-whore and a sucker for airplane views (and unabashedly take too many plane wing pics) – SeatGuru helps you choose based on what time of day & which airport we are flying into. This also has some good tips.

Lastly, staying hydrated during the flight leaves you feeling a million times better. I always bring an empty/ reusable bottle through security to fill up before I board. That way I never have to worry about chasing down the stewardess for more water or having my tray table knock at my knees the whole time as a sip my water.

Anything I missed? What are your tried & true travel tricks?


3 thoughts on “Non-essential Travel Essentials

  1. great tips! I pack light but my backpack doesn’t have wheels. Mostly Bc the places I travel to I would often have to carry it so I might as well just have a backpack. I also carry a light sarong when I travel. It functions as a scarf, towel, blanket and beach coverup. Got it in Indonesia for $1 US – best one I ever spent! 😉

  2. I always bring an extra pair of socks on a red eye. The ones I wear on the filthy plane and the ones I change into before my shoes go back on and I have to take on the world!

    Also earphones to tone out all the noise and talking!

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